Campaign: Spend part of food dollars locally

Published 8:58 am Saturday, August 7, 2010

Staff Writer

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service is challenging consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars to support North Carolina food producers, businesses and communities.
Susan Chase, an extension agent in Beaufort County, was unavailable for additional comment, but she did say in a news release the 10-percent mark is achievable.
According to the 10% Campaign website,, North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If consumers spent 10 percent — $1.05 per day locally — approximately $3.5 billion would be available to local economies across the state.
The website also states that a vibrant local food economy will support farms, food and manufacturing businesses and create jobs.
The 10% Campaign’s slogan delivers a simple message: “Make the Choice. Make a Difference. Make it Local.”
Lori Morgan, with Petals &Produce, said she agrees with the campaign. She believes it is a great program for local farmers and the local economy.
“It would greatly improve our business,” she said. “I think people want to move more to local farmers and get their produce from them.”
According to Chase’s news release, the 10% Campaign is committed to success through education, promotion and collaboration by working with organizations and businesses to encourage participation for local economical produce choices.
“It would benefit the local economy a great deal,” Morgan said. “We get all of our produce locally grown, and I think that’s what people want to go to.”
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems also is dedicated to sustainable agriculture research and education, as it is leading the 10% Campaign. As CEFS’s mission is to develop and promote food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina, its goals are to provide new economic opportunities in rural and urban communities as well as develop technologies that promote a cleaner and healthier environment.
Morgan said that obtaining produce from local farmers and producers will only be a boon to the local economy.
CEFS is working with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service and Charlotte-based Compass Group, the world’s largest food-service company, to develop the early and long-term components of the campaign.
NCCES agents are supporting the 10% Campaign by acting as local foods coordinators in all 100 counties. They encourage farms and businesses to increase their capacities and help cultivate new farmers and promote local foods, food producers and related businesses within their communities.
Grant funding for the campaign has been provided by the Golden LEAF Foundation, as its mission is to promote social welfare of North Carolina’s residents and receive and distribute funds for economic-impact assistance to economically affected or tobacco-dependent regions of North Carolina.
The foundation awards grants to nonprofits and governmental entities across North Carolina, focusing on three priorities — agriculture, job creation/retention and work-force preparedness.
Consumers may join the campaign by registering on the website,, and pledging to spend 10 percent of their food budgets on foods grown locally.